Storms cost Clare and Kerry councils €46 million

The Government is facing bills of over €46m from Clare and Kerry councils for the damage caused by the storms that ravaged the counties.

In Clare, the council is to immediately issue the Government with a €23.76m bill for storm damage.

Tom Coughlan, the county manager, revealed the costs and said the total “is a very significant sum and undoubtedly beyond the financial capability of the council”.

The bill refers only to the damage to public infrastructure in Clare and does not include the cost to private property owners.

A preliminary report from the local authority says the costs of addressing the devastation in Lahinch amounts to €5.8m alone.

Clare mayor Joe Arkins (FG) described the power of the storm as “frightening and awesome”.

The report put the cost of repairing damage at Kilbaha on Loop Head at €3.4m, Quilty €2.58m, New Quay at €1.84m, and €1.1m near Moneypoint. The report outlines costs for 37 separate locations where damage was caused by the storms.

A number of councillors said that the €23.76m will not in any way be adequate to address the damage done.

Cllr Brian Meaney (FF) said: “It is multiples of the €23.76m that is required.”

Meanwhile, Kerry County Council spokesman Padraig Corkery yesterday said the damage had been estimated at €3.5m, but urgent, additional coastal protection work would cost over €16m.

“There’s also the possibility that the need for work in other areas may become apparent following annual coastal surveys,’’ he said.

Included in the estimate is €1.5m to repair storm damage to the blue-flag Rossbeigh Beach area.

Also in Rossbeigh, the National Monuments Service has commissioned archaeologist Laurence Dunne to survey an old shipwreck and ensure its protection.

The wooden skeleton of schooner Sunbeam, had lain embedded in the sand for 111 years, but was displaced during the storms.

Mr Dunne was at the scene yesterday and it is expected the landmark wreck will be reburied in the sand to ensure its conservation.

Complaints about some people attempting to steal parts of the wreck were made to gardaí and Kerry County Council, but the council said the wreck is below the high water line so does not fall within the remit of the local authority.

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